In this HNHH Exclusive we talk to upcoming singer/songwriter Eric Bellinger to get more details on his come-up and what's next.
Eric Bellinger should definitely be a name you become familiar with. Although he used to be behind the scenes, writing songs with some of your favourite artists, now he is ready for the limelight as he takes on a solo career. Bellinger is a talented singer and songwriter, who has worked with the likes of Usher, Chris Brown, Busta Rhymes, and Justin Bieber to name a few. All this, and he's not even signed yet. He's currently working on the third volume in his series Born 2 Sing, and he took some time out of his schedule to chop it up with HNHH. Read our conversation with Eric below.
Eric Bellinger: Hello
HotNewHipHop: Hey Eric
Eric: Yeah, how are you?
HNHH: I'm good, what's up?
Eric: Nothing much.
HNHH: Cool, okay well, just to start, I don't think HotNewHipHop viewers really know who you are, or what your story is, so if you could just give us an introduction as to who you are and what your story is, that kinda thing.
Eric: Okay, well, my name is Eric Bellinger. [I'm] a singer/songwriter from Los Angeles, California, I started out doing like, singing groups, and recently started writing for other artists, and, now I'm in the transition of working on, you know, my solo career. I've just been doing a lot of writing with a lot of major artists and thats pretty much what's helped me, with my relationships and really get my foot in the door.
HNHH: So you were writing for other artists before you pursued your solo career, that's how you met big names, like Chris Brown?
Eric: Yeah, I had three songs on Chris Brown's F.A.M.E. Album. Like the song out right now with Jennifer Hudson, Ne-Yo and Rick Ross, her [Jennifer Hudson's] single for the soundtrack of Think Like a Man, I did that one. The 20th anniversary album they just released, Jacob Latimore “Nothin On Me” song, Ashanti “The Woman You Love” with Busta Rhymes, like I've been working with just a lot of people, you know what I mean, and it's really just helping me pull everything that I'm trying to do.
HNHH: And you won a Grammy for one of the songs that you wrote with Chris Brown?
Eric: Yeah, yeah because his album actually won Best R&B Album of the Year and, you know, with me having the three songs on there, all the writers and producers that participated won as well.
HNHH: How does that feel?
Eric: Ah man, it feels great. 'Cause just, you know what I mean, just me trying to do my thing, and, you know, its taught me how much value there is in the writing, you know what I mean. So I kinda look at both and respect both sides of the fence, you know behind the scenes and the spotlight, you know, each character plays a very important role, you know what i mean. He needed us to help him write the songs in order to get to where he is. And it's not saying that he couldn't have done it, but it's just teamwork makes the dreamwork.
HNHH: For sure. So you've been in the studio with a lot of big names recently, I know Usher was among them, what has that been like, just working with Usher?
Eric: Well for me, Usher, you know, growing up, just always loving his music and him being such an inspiration to me, that's helped a lot. Because, you know, as we're writing, you know, he's looking at me sometimes like, “that sounds like me!” You know, when I'm singing in the booth 'cause I really take his sound.
HNHH: So he's definitely one of your influences?
Eric: Oh yeah, most definitely, between like Usher and Michael Jackson and Brandy. You know the real singers, I really owe it all to them.
HNHH: And who else have you been in the studio with, like what else have you been doing? Are you working on your album with these big artists or for their album?
Eric: Well, both. 'Cause with the artists, it just depends. Like on my last mixtape Born 2 Sing Vol. 2, a lot of times when I'm in the studio with the artist, we'll do one for them and then I'll say, “hey, I'm doing my project, I need you to feature on one of my songs,” and they never have a problem with it just because, you know, the type of person I am. I usually just hit it off with a lot of people, so like, for example, on my mixtape, I have features with Christina Milian, Mario, um, I had Bridget Kelly, you know what I mean, 'cause we'll be in the studio and I'll be like “hey, hey I need you to do something for me,” and they'll be like “cool, whatever you need.” So it works great.
HNHH: Who have you been most excited to work with so far?
Eric: Well, I think, maybe between like Usher, of course, but Bieber was really fun. I was just hanging with Justin Bieber a couple weeks ago, and he's working on his album and that went really good.
HNHH: Okay so what were you working on with Justin Bieber?
Eric: Yeah, stuff for his new album,with producers like Diplo and Hit-Boy, so that was exciting.
HNHH: You recently released a remix of Kanye's and Jay-Z's “Gotta Have It” with Busta Rhymes, J-Doe and Reek Da Villain, how did that come together, that track?
[Eric Bellinger- "What You Need Remix" Feat. Busta Rhymes, Reek Da Villain & J-Doe]
Eric: Well, I always loved that song and I always wondered like, why didn't they make it a single? You know what I mean?
HNHH: Yeah, yeah!
Eric: [I was] like, “Oh my god, someone needs to do something with this beat,” so I was like, “you know what, I'm gunna do it,” you know what I mean.
HNHH: It was fresh 'cause noone had touched a remix like that.
Eric: Yeah, so I did that, and then I called my boy J-Doe, me and him grew up together, and we always do music together. So, once we did it, and he [J-Doe] played it for Busta, Busta was like, “what?! Let me get on it too!” and then he got on it. And then Reek was like, “wait let me put my verse at the end!” So it was really cool, 'cause me and Busta actually just did a show together at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles, and he was like yeah I'll hop on there and gave me a nice little shoutout so it was cool.
HNHH: Very cool. And so what else do you have coming up, you said you're working on an album?
Eric: Yeah, right now, I'm working on Born 2 Sing Vol. 3, you know, I did volume one and volume two.
HNHH: Is this going to be a mixtape though? Wasn't volume one and two both mixtapes?
Eric: Yeah, well this is gunna be an EP, I'm gunna have it on iTunes and everything like that, but I still wanna keep the volume three going, just for a sequence, so people can know that I do have music, once they hear volume three, if they're new fans they can know to go back to volume two and volume one, you know what I mean?
HNHH: Ah yeah, that's true. So what can you tell us about this album, like features?
Eric: Yeah, definitely gunna have some features on there, I've already reached out to some people like J. Cole and Meek Mill, you know just everyone's favourite artist. And, um we're gunna be doing radio promo for it, 'cause really the last one I kinda did like street records, you know what I mean, like it's all just stuff that I did just to kinda help build the buzz. And now we're gunna take this one a little more commercial, I've been working with like Hit-Boy on this one, and Diplo, T-Minus, Da Internz, Harmony, so it's gunna be exciting.
HNHH: And how is that getting out there, like you're still independent?
Eric: Yeah, I'm independent actually. Yeah it's pretty exciting 'cause I'm actually just starting to take my label meetings, 'cause everything I've been doing, I've kinda just been doing on my own, just to kinda build some more leverage. It's really good, especially nowadays, with the social media network you really have everything at the palm of your hands. So I can just reach out to the different blogs and you guys of course, and you know what I mean, it's just a lot easier, you know, coming up for an independent artist.
HNHH: Yeah to get noticed it's much easier. Well that pretty much sums up everything, is there anything you want to add to the fans, or what should people check out?
HNHH: Cool, well this will kinda be your introduction to HotNewHipHop, and hopefully people will get familiar.
Eric: Thank you, I really appreciate it!